Take hold of your copy of "Folksong in England" in two hands and open the book - BUT, not too far. You should find the spine opens up and you have a hollow. Look down the hollow and you will see a thin layer of white glue. This is all that is holding the pages of your book together.
You might want to get a paperback and compare the two. There is more to a hardback book than the stiffness of the boards.
Has anyone ever bought a Victorian gutta percha- or caoutchouc-bound book?
Now, modern glues are very good and much better than their Victorian equivalents, but, before long, if you fully open your new book more than a few times, and certainly if you open it flat on a desk, the spine will break and the pages will start to fall out. This will not happen with a properly bound book.
How do I know this? I've been selling out-of-print books for 35 years and bookbinding for almost 30.
It could be argued (although I wouldn't) that this kind of cheap book production is fine for popular, ephemeral fiction when most books are read once or twice then consigned to the shelf before being donated to the local charity shop.
But a real book, a proper book, is a way of preserving knowledge not a disposable commodity. They should be made to last.
Well done to Steve Roud for getting it published; I know it isn't easy! I just wish one of the university presses had recognised its importance to the corpus.
Best wishes CJ,